Singaporeans are second-most nervous about the future impact of technology on their jobs in an 11-country survey, as per a survey by global professional services firm PwC. The island nation tied up with the UK and trailed behind France.
As per the report, one in five Singaporeans or 18% are concerned about how technology will affect their jobs, with over half or 54% thinking it is likely their roles will be made obsolete or significantly changed by automation over the next 10 years. Also, 60% of Singaporean workers are likely to accept a lower-level position in another company or industry if they believe their job was at risk of automation as compared with the global average of 47 percent.
Also, 58 percent of Singaporean respondents worried technology will make their role redundant and 36 percent fearing they would not have the right skills. However, 53 percent of Singaporeans surveyed indicating they felt technology will bring more opportunities than risk in the workplace and 85 percent feeling that technology will change their work for the better.
In order to prepare for this change, 81 percent of Singaporean respondents already learning new skills to better understand or use technology. About 92 percent said they would take the opportunity to better understand or use technology if it were available to them. If their jobs were at risk, 85 percent would learn new skills now or completely retrain in order to improve their future employability.
Meanwhile, employers are also playing their part to help employees prepare for this change, with 76 percent of respondents saying their employers are giving them chances to improve their digital skills outside of normal duties, but only 31 percent are currently upskilling through their employers.
The survey reveals gives a clear reflection that individuals are aware of the need for upskilling, and is potentially due to the increase in efforts by both the public and private sector. For instance, government programs such as SkillsFuture, Professional Conversion Programmes (PCP) and Industry Transformation Maps are some of the initiatives that help organizations and workers prepare for their jobs in the future.
However, the report also pointed out that despite the availability of many programs and opportunities to upskill, only 44% of Singaporeans recognized that it is their own responsibility to upskill. Interestingly, only 32 percent felt upskilling was the government's responsibility compared with the survey average of 22 percent.
PwC's report, Upskilling Hopes & Fears, was carried out by Opinium from July 12 to July 19 and surveyed 22,000 adults across 11 countries, with more than 2,000 respondents from each country. The participating countries were South Africa, Germany, the Netherlands, India, Australia, France, Singapore, China, Poland, the UK, and the US.
Being a smart nation whose government and private sector are adopting technology quickly makes Singapore's jobs more susceptible to the impact of technological advancements. However, the silver lining is that Singaporean workers are ahead of the average worker when it comes to learning new skills almost 81% as compared to 77% for the survey average, but it is still behind emerging countries such as India and China which were both at 96%.